Aphelion Issue 232, Volume 22
September 2018
 
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Another month has come and gone...

Here we are again at the end of another year. 2009 is just around the corner. Seems like only a few months ago that 1999 was drawing to a close with Millennium Madness and Y2k Fever sweeping the planet. Where does the time go? In any case, time marches on... During the last year life has been, well, I suppose "interesting" is the best way to describe it. "Eventful" is another accurate word that springs to mind. Loads of ups and downs, highs and lows, with disasters and blessings in equal measure. For example;

The largest hard drive in my computer crashed - Which turned loads of family photographs, music files, programs, downloaded files, drawings that had been scanned, and other bits of data into a cloud of random electrons. Gives a whole new meaning to "vaporware," doesn't it? But recovering from that saw my computer now holding far larger hard drives - Both internal and external. (By the way, if anyone has a dead Western Digital 32o Gb internal EIDE hard drive laying around, I could use the controller circuit board off of it to recover my lost files.)

One of our two cats had four kittens. Sadly, the oldest cat vanished and one of the kittens died a few months later. One of my eldest daughter's two cats died during the same time period. I cried a lot, but what else could I do? We still have three kittens and the momma cat. Michelle still has one of her cats as well as her giant dog.

The price of gasoline went through the roof. But the new van I'd bought to replace the car that was totaled in the wreck my wife and I were in last year gets twice the gas mileage that the car did. I actually came out better off than I would have been if the car hadn't been a total loss. Now that the price of gas had dropped back down to "almost normal" I'm even more able to afford the increase in the price of groceries!

Speaking of the aftermath of the auto accident, I went back to work only to find that the Housing Market had gone downhill. The result of that is that the factory where I work has gone through a lot of down-sizing and budget cutbacks. Yet I still have a job to go to, thankfully. Another point in my favor is that since I had to re-finance the mortgage on my house in order to pay cash for the new van, my house payment dropped by nearly $100 per month.

My wife and I discovered Steampunk, and have had loads of fun making costumes and accessories. We've made new friends and gone on mini-vacations together to meet like-minded people. We've also discovered that we have a few talents that could be turned into extra income - Which off-sets the price of new clothing and vacation expenses. Plus, I was able to turn that hobby into grist for my writing. A Steampunk novel is in the works. 30,000 words and climbing! There's a market for Steampunk at the moment. Hopefully I can finish the story and shop it around before the fad dies off.

Last month I rolled over in bed and poked my elbow through the top of my water bed mattress. The floor was flooded and the flooring under the carpet warped as it dried. But I was able to find a Memory-Foam mattress for one-half to one-sixth of the price they normally cost as a replacement...

But you get the idea. Out of every disaster came the seed of a blessing. The darkness was only temporary. The dawn that followed was always brighter than what had come before. Things change, or pass out of our lives, but new things enter to fill the void. "Interesting Times" can be a curse or a blessing. It is up to each of us to stand adversity upon its head in order to make something good out of what was bad.

Speaking of "something good," this new issue of Aphelion is full of really neat stuff!  There are lots of new stories and poetry for your enjoyment. There's also a new Flash Fiction Challenge under way in the Forums. Go! Read! When you're done, pop over to the Forums and comment on what you've read. Your comment could turn out to be exactly what one of the writers needs to hear in order to improve their writing. You can make a difference in someone's life.

Let's go have some fun!

Dan

Special postscript: The month of December has seen the passing of two cultural icons -- the esteemed Forrest J. Ackerman, a.k.a. "Uncle Forry", publisher of the marvelous "Famous Monsters of Filmland" and curator of the Ackermuseum, basically his personal collection of thousands of items of movie memorabilia, with emphasis on science fiction and horror movies, and Bettie Page, the quintessential pin-up model, famous for her lingerie (and less) photos and an early popularizer of the leather-and-lace look. Without Bettie Page, Madonna and Britney would have dressed like the Andrews Sisters, and Mrs. Peel might never have worn a leather catsuit... Ave atque vale, Forry and Bettie. Heaven just got a lot more interesting.